Muscle Shivers & Stretching Relief

Stretching can help relieve a wide variety of muscle problems.
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If your muscles appear to be shivering, it's not because they're cold. Muscles tend to shake when they're forced to do a challenging workout or bear a load that's too heavy. Muscles can also shake when you have a muscle spasm. Sometimes muscle spasms are simply involuntary reactions that go away on their own, but muscle spasms can also occur as a result of an injury or muscle weakness and can cause pain in the muscle and surrounding areas. Stretching helps to build muscle strength and tone, which can help alleviate muscle pain and reduce the likelihood that your muscles will shake during a strenuous workout.

Weak Muscles

If you notice that your muscles are shaking while you're working out, it's likely that your muscles are weak. Sometimes muscles shake only on one side, and this can be due to a muscle imbalance. Muscle imbalances are caused when you work muscles on one side of the body but not the other, as well as when an injury forces a group of muscles to compensate for weakness in another muscle or muscle group. If the shaking is not painful, it's not necessarily cause for concern, but it does mean you shouldn't increase the intensity of your routine.

Muscle Spasms

Muscle spasms are usually caused by muscle injuries. Inflammation in the area causes muscle spasms, and these spasms are usually painful. Sometimes spasms cause pain in other muscle groups. For example, a spasm in your hip could cause pain or weakness in your legs and back. Stretching can help stop muscle spasms by increasing muscle strength and by helping your muscles relearn how to work together.

Other Causes

If shaking begins suddenly, it may be cause for concern. Neurological disorders such as tremors may cause your muscles to shiver. Autoimmune disorders such as Parkinson's disease or rheumatoid arthritis can also cause muscles to shake. Although stretching may help alleviate some symptoms and prevent rapid muscle deterioration, you shouldn't begin a fitness routine without getting clearance from your doctor, who might prescribe medication and lifestyle changes.

Stretching Benefits

Stretching tends to be easier than intense exercise, making it an ideal choice for people with injuries and chronic pain. There's some debate about whether stretching increases flexibility. For example, a 2010 study published in the "Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports" found that regular stretching did not increase flexibility, but the Mayo Clinic advises stretching to improve flexibility. Stretching does, however, reduce muscle tension, decrease your risk of injury, promote circulation and reduce the risk of pain. Sometimes poor posture or uneven lifting practices -- such as always carrying a bag with one arm -- can create imbalances in your muscles that cause more tension or weakness on one side. Regular stretching can reduce this tension, making exercise less painful and decreasing your risk of injury.

Stretching Tips

A number of basic stretches -- touching your toes, bending your back to push your shoulder blades together, rolling your ankles and pulling your feet toward you with a towel -- can help with muscle problems. Aim to stretch your whole body, with special attention paid to problem areas. Never force a stretch, and avoid anything that is painful. You may feel a little sore after stretching, but this generally indicates your muscles are getting a workout. You can return to stretching as soon as the soreness gets better.

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